In Florida where I live it seems that a lot of small banks have been purchased by big Canadian banks. They’ll put up a new sign and logo which I then recognize as Canadian. Other than the new logo, the buildings are fairly nondescript as many local banks tend to be. However, when I walked by the same bank on a busy street in Vancouver, well, there’s something to look at. In any case, here’s to the architecture of Canadian banks…, in Canada.
It was with these words that our guide (an upperclassman two weeks away from graduation) introduced us to the dining hall at Flagler College, a four year liberal arts school with the distinction of having some of the most impressive architecture in Florida. The college was built as the Ponce de Leon hotel for the well to do back in the gilded era. Imagine eating your tacos before class surrounded by priceless Tiffany widows and fourteen carrot gold chandeliers. From the looks on some of the faces at lunch when we dropped in, they couldn’t have cared less.
In the last few days the Cherry Blossoms in Vancouver have been in full riot mode. It’s really the most amazing thing to see, not just the Cherry Blossoms but the residents of Vancouver looking at the Cherry Blossoms. Silly me, I thought I could just go out and take a few photographs, but as it turns out it seemed that I was only one of about a half million people doing the same thing. There are surely millions of photos of the Cherry Blossoms taken in the last three days. I pointed the camera up in order to get the blossoms without the people taking pictures of the blossoms and in this small way I claimed these Cherry Blossoms as my own, …that is until the next ten people took the same shot.
This is the entrance to Castillo de San Marcos in St Augustine, Florida. I got here for this shot just after sunrise. For a couple of hundred years this draw bridge was a crucial link to the outside, and for weeks it would be raised as the fort was under siege. Possession of the fort has changed six times through various treaties over the centuries, yet it was never defeated in battle. However, if you come here a couple hours after sunrise, you just might be defeated by the tens of thousands that visit this sturdy bastion daily. I wonder if the Spanish had that in mind when they built it.
Looking for sunsets can be a blessing and a curse. I find myself always mindful of the direction of the sun and the cloud layer, two prerequisites of a good shot. On this particular day I had very little to look forward to so, being on a mini vacation, I found myself in the hotel bar sipping a drink that was way too colorful. My resolved to ignore the hour gave in and I quickly headed up the elevator to snap this through the window of our 5th floor room which looked out across Flagler College in St Augustine Florida. I quickly performed the task, having given it that “college try” and made haste back to the bar before the next round. This is how I try to keep my priorities. No comments to this post will be accepted, …unless you’re buying the next round.
Winter can last so long that some of us need visual cues that it’s coming to an end. Such was the case when I walked by these plants in the city park. Until this point, it never even dawned on me there would be an end to winter. Irrational yes, but very good news nonetheless.
I’m fascinated by bridges so they’re natural subjects for my photography. This is the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine. The lions at the entrance of the bridge are a tribute to Ponce de León and are a symbol of the Spanish royal family, harkening back to St. Augustine’s past as a Spanish colony. According to our guide, these lions are carved from the same quarry as that used by Michelangelo. I thought they we’re impressive enough to get up before dawn and capture them without the normal traffic experienced at the height of spring break.
These are the stairs half way to the top of an operating lighthouse in St. Augustine, Florida. As I rested for this shot, it seemed strange to me that with all the satellite positioning, underwater sonar and autopilot systems we have available, relics such as this still exist. I would have assumed that a lighthouse was obsolete in the day of iPhone navigation. I mentioned this to the ranger at the top of the 219 stairs and he reminded me that a few weeks ago not far from this spot a modern cruise ship had lost all power and was drifting. He also mentioned that not all fishing boats operating near here are outfitted with modern equipment and the lighthouse serves as a vital aid. Seems technology is not always as reliable and trustworthy as we’d like to believe and a few “relics” like this might just be a good Plan B. I guess there’s no app for that in the iPhone store.
The Lightner Museuem in St. Augustine Florida houses an impressive collection of artifacts from the guilded age. Back in the day, the museum was actually a private gentlemens club owned by Henery M. Flagler, and the only women allowed in were dancing girls. Notwithstanding, later publishing manate Otto C. Lightner used the building to house his extensive collection of goods. He was one of a very few that had any cash during the depression, so most folks parted with their treasures for a fraction of their original cost. Regardless, a world class collection that would be the envy of any self respecting bargin hunter.
Near my home in Florida is the Gamble Plantation Historic State Park. Apparently the owner didn’t trust the water so he built a big cistern to hold fresh water. As I write this I’m drinking water from a bottle which was not filled by a wooden bucket. But back in the day, …well, it was.